I hit the snooze button for the third time this morning, except my eyes were so heavy I hit dismiss instead. I woke up in a panic 30 minutes later to rush and get my kids ready for school. As we’re rushing to get out of the door on time I find myself getting angry at them because they just weren’t moving fast enough. I caught myself screaming at them “Let’s GOOOO, we have to move it, why can’t you just move FASTER!” and getting angry like they were intentionally trying to make me late. I found myself feeling guilty because it wasn’t their fault that I dismissed my alarm and woke up late.
Have you ever felt those feelings or something similar before? Let’s face it, being a single mom is hard because you have 0 too little help on a day-to-day basis. I think we can all agree on that. But what’s even harder is when you’re constantly in survival mode. The dishes haven’t been washed, the laundry is still sitting there waiting to be folded, and all the other tasks we have to play catch up daily. Your brain is hardwired to react using “fight or flight” and it’s tough to make decisions when you’re constantly in emergency mode.
What Is Fight Or Flight?
“Fight or Flight” is a catchy phrase for describing what happens to our bodies when our sympathetic nervous system becomes aroused. That basically means, our bodies automatically react to anything that our brains perceive as stressful or frightening. We were designed this way to keep us safe in prehistoric times. Imagine yourself out-gathering berries when you look up and stare into the eyes of a saber-toothed tiger. Your body automatically prepares for either running or fighting, depending on what’s needed to escape this attacker.
We aren’t cavemen (or women) anymore but our brains are still hard-wired to react this way. We still have a natural reaction to physical danger (walking to your parked car at night) or perceived (anxiety, or stress). For single moms, this can be dealing with co-parenting, dating, work, parenting, planning for your/children’s future, and your own mental health. It constantly feels like you are juggling “all the balls” and they can fall at any moment.
How Does The Stress Of Reacting With Fight or Flight Affect Our Kids?
We want our kids to experience better than we did as kids, and this comes with breaking generational trauma. Generational trauma is a term used to describe a “passing down” of traumatic impact and emotional fallout. When we get into a fight or flight response we can repeat behaviors we want to break like emotional/physical child abuse, alcohol or drug addiction.
Moms can get overstimulated just like kids can, and being aware of this is half the battle. But what if we could choose how our feelings are triggered? Chances are good that you’ll end up with a better response for yourself and your family in the long run!
How Do You Manage The Stress Of Parenting During Fight or Flight?
Here are 5 tips to manage the stress of parenting when you are a single mom and your brain is in flight or flight:
1. Don’t Do It Alone
Ask for help from your family and friends. The most important thing you can do is ask for help. You’ll be surprised how much people want to lend their voice and support when they know that there are other individuals who care about your well-being as much or more than yourself!
2. Find Something That Makes You Happy
Whether it’s reading, painting, or going for walks, find something that brings you joy. When we find the one thing that makes us happy, it can really help boost our mood. There are so many different ways to do this and you don’t have to be an expert in order for these activities will make your life better!
3. Connect With Other Single Moms
There’s strength in numbers, and who better to empower & encourage you than other single moms. Find other moms that you can lean on for support, they understand the struggle better than anyone. This helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life. You can even join a single mom community that will help you feel empowered and supported virtually.
4. Find Ways To Ease The Financial Burden
Financial burdens can cause stress and anxiety, which might lead you into deeper debt. The best way out is by finding ways for financial relief such as creating a budget or finding income streams that will pay for your monthly expenses.
5. Create Routines For Your Household
Creating a routine for your household will help with not having to live every day in reactive mode. Two things have helped me this most when I implemented them one is chore charts for my daughters (and myself) second was meal planning. Not having to stress daily about what we were eating every day helped me with decision fatigue.
So, what’s the answer? The decision is yours. Will you fight or flight? We are here to help when you are ready with our free Reset For 2022 Virtual Retreat. This virtual retreat is for single moms who want to stop putting themselves on the back burner, and to start living for their kids instead of dying for them. Click HERE to register for your free account and see you on the inside!